Mercedes is interested in the possibility of placing its DTM championship leader, Pascal Wehrlein, at the Manor F1 team next year.
On Thursday, Mercedes and Manor announced an engine supply deal for 2016 that will see F1's smallest team trade in its year-old Ferrari power units for the class-leading Mercedes V6 hybrid next year. Manor has yet to confirm its drivers for next season and currently has three racing for the remainder of this year, with Will Stevens in one car and Alexander Rossi and Roberto Merhi sharing the other.
Wehrlein leads the DTM standings for Mercedes by 37 points with two rounds remaining and has also tested for the Mercedes F1 team and Force India this year. Wolff said placing Wehrlein at Manor is a possibility next year, but wants his protégée to seal the DTM title first.
"It's a bit of a tricky situation and we haven't got a dedicated young driver programme," Wolff said. "We have Pascal, who is with us, but his main focus is DTM and I don't want to take him away from that focus. He has done a great job in testing for us and he is a very exciting young driver, but I'd rather like to see how DTM pans out. It's a possibility but it needs a lot of pieces of the jigsaw to come together and it could well not happen."
Wolff said the new Mercedes engine deal will mean Manor can attract bigger budgets from its pay drivers and warned that Mercedes would not be willing to pay over the odds to put Wehrlein in F1.
"The harsh financial reality is that Manor needs to refinance itself and raise the budget. I'm not sure if we would be prepared to place a driver with budgets that they could probably raise in a driver market if we are supplying engines, because that is a more attractive offer for a young driver."